An actor, an architect, a lawyer, a philanthropist and an artist/farmer/engineer have been named to the Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame. Dylan McDermott, Joseph Stein, Susan Cecelia O’Neill, Edith Morton Chase and Hobert Victory Welton were selected by an 8-person board-appointed committee on April 17.
A ceremony that will be attended by the only living inductee, actor Dylan McDermott, will take place on Saturday, Nov 16, in the auditorium of Holy Cross High School, 587 Oronoke Rd, at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. A reception will follow.
Hobart Victory Welton (1811-1895) was a farmer, sculptor and engineer who served as Waterbury’s superintendent of public highways (city roads) for 25 years. He founded the Waterbury Brass Company (1845), for which he constructed a system of reservoirs on the Mad River. He built Waterbury’s first bridge with a stone arch (1848) and Connecticut’s first iron bridge over the Naugatuck River at West Main St. His two stone arch sheds have withstood the test of time on Wolcott St. The Welton Gate, now at the Mattatuck Museum, has been recognized as a valuable example of American folk art.
The daughter of a distinguished Waterbury lawyer and legislator, Attorney Susan Cecelia O’Neill (1871-1934) graduated with distinction from NYU’s School of Law in 1897, only seven years after the school granted entrance to women. She was admitted to the Connecticut Bar on June 19, 1898. Although she was the second woman admitted to the Connecticut Bar, she was the first to regularly argue cases in court. In 1901, she became the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court of Connecticut. On April 24, 1904, she was admitted to and practiced before the Supreme Court of the United States, nine years after the first woman to do so.
Edith Morton Chase (1891-1972), daughter of Henry S. Chase, the first president of the Chase Companies, Inc., carried on the philanthropic traditions of the Chase family by quietly supporting various Waterbury agencies. Along with a group of interested people, she rallied to save the Chase Brass and Copper Co. office building after the company left Waterbury and she participated in the final transaction in which the Cass Gilbert building located at 236 Grand St. was sold to the city. She bequeathed substantial sums to various organizations and donated of her beloved Litchfield home Topsmead to the state of Connecticut.
Joseph Stein (1916-1977) graduated from Dartmouth College as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and went on to Harvard Graduate School of Design where he received his master’s degree in architecture at a time when Harvard was the only American university to embrace the Modernist movement. He began designing homes and later took on commissions for such notable buildings as the alumni building at UConn, Storrs; Waterbury’s Bureau of Water, Gilmartin and Regan schools and MacDermid corporate headquarters. He was cited for his designs of the Mattatuck Animal Hospital and the Middlebury branch of the American Savings and Loan Association.
He received the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association awards for the design of the Silas Bronson Library in 1964 and the Connecticut Building Congress Merit awards for the Silas Bronson Library and the Waterbury Club. Institutions Magazine honored him for interior designs of both buildings. Among his other creations are Temple Israel, St. John’s Lutheran Church, and the Savings Towers Apartments. He also served as president of the Connecticut Society of Architects.
Born Mark Anthony McDermott, on October 26, 1961, in Waterbury, Dylan McDermott’s world opened up to theater when his stepmother playwright Eve Ensler wrote a part for him into her play Believe It, See It, Survival. He graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Theater/ Drama and continued studying with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. He made his Broadway debut in Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues, which led to casting in Hamburger Hill. His most notable film credits include The Messengers, Wonderland, Home for the Holidays, Steel Magnolias, Miracle on 34th Street, In The Line of Fire and Burning Palms.
McDermott’s television credits include Dark Blue, The Grid and the award-winning series The Practice, which earned him an Emmy nomination in 1999, a Golden Globe award in 1999 and nominations in 2000 and 2001.
More recently, he appeared in the television productions Dark Blue and American Horror Story as well as the films The Campaign and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He is currently starring in the television program Hostages.